Various problems are encountered when working with interiorscape plants. Left unnoticed, these problems can lead to a decline in the overall plant quality of an account, a decline in customer satisfaction, or a decline in technician safety. Some of these situations change so gradually that you may not see them happen.
Being a great plant technician means being on the look-out for potential problems that could surface and dealing with them before they become a crisis. This is called being proactive. It’s looking ahead and anticipating a chain of events that could harm the plant and correcting them before the emergency occurs. Here is a list of possible problems to look for in your job. As you do your regular route, look around you and check to see if a proactive service action is needed.
Are the plants still in style? (If no, sell new ones).
Have they grown too tall for the design? (If yes, prune back).
How are the roots? (If the plant is wobbly and likely to fall over, then fix by adding soil and stabilizers).
Are there stakes that are unnecessary and unsightly? (If yes, then remove).
Do you need to add soil to fill in air pockets? (If yes, then bring soil and fix).
Do the plants look old and tired? (If yes, sell fresh ones).
Are there roots growing outside the grow pot? (If yes, then cut off).
Is there mold growing on the surface of the soil? (If yes, then scrape off and reduce your amount of water).
Is there a salt build-up on the outside of the grow pot? (If yes, then scrape off and reduce your amount of fertilizer).
Is any container leaking onto the floor or desk top? (Peak under to inspect, and if yes, fix immediately).
Are there floor protectors under all containers? (If no, sell as an add-on sale).
Are any of the vinyl liners crimped, or split so that a container might start to leak? (Look inside the decorative container, and replace if necessary).
Is stagnant water puddling inside the decorative container? (If yes, drain immediately).
Is the hook for a hanging planter crimped? (If yes, replace immediately).
Equipment and supplies
Is the water machine leaking or is the hose worn? (If yes, repair).
Are your hand tools (scissors, pruners, etc.) clean and repaired? (If no, take the time to sharpen and clean).
Is your van stocked with all needed supplies? (Check the supply list from TPT August ‘97, and stock as needed).
Is your ladder up to safety standards? (If no, replace).
Is your equipment secured in your van in case you have to stop quickly? (If no, tie down before your next drive).
Are all fertilizers and pesticides in original containers? (If no, fix immediately).
Do you have a MSDS book to review as needed? (Review, before mixing chemicals).
Do you have the Poison Control phone number handy? (Carry with you on your routes).
Play it safe and keep your customers and plants happy with proactive service!